In this article, we’re going to show you our silent gaming PC build. You don’t need to live with cooling fans that sound like air turbines anymore! We’re going to show you our top picks to make a build with minimal noise that still offers awesome performance.
We’ll also share some of our knowledge with you in regards to quieter more efficient components. This way you can make your own decisions if you decide to build your own silent gaming PC or modify the build we provide.
How To Build A Quiet PC
Building a quiet PC is all in the components you choose, and we’re going to try and break it down for you so you don't get confused.
- Don’t buy a hard drive - The differences between hard drives and solid state drives are numerous, but their most inherent difference is in moving parts. Hard drives have spinning disks which make noise, especially under load. SSDs have no moving parts whatsoever, and therefore don’t make any noise.
- Liquid coolers may not be the best choice - While certain closed-loop solutions do excellent jobs of cooling CPUs and keeping temps at a minimum they may not be that quiet. Remember the coolers pump will always be running in your system and will only get louder as your CPU is put under load.
- Buy a high-spec PSU - Power Supply Units are always important. Go too cheap and you’re going to get poor efficiency and excessive noise. What you’re looking for isn’t just raw wattage, but a high power efficiency level and great cooling profile so your PSU doesn’t get noisy on you.
- The case matters more than ever - While the case may be an afterthought for all but the most aesthetically inclined, especially for budget builds, that isn’t the case here. You want large cases with great airflow and solid construction that keeps noise inside while still pushing heat out. Oddly, there are not a lot of cases like this out there, but fortunately for you, we found one of the best.
Those are the basics of what you need to know if you decide to build your own silent PC build. Continue onward to see what we came up with and deemed worthy of the “best” title. We’re sure that you’ll agree.
The Best Quiet PC Gaming Build Update:
This high-end unlocked processor makes light work of gaming, rendering, and streaming!
Scythe Ninja 5 CPU Cooler
One of the quietest(and biggest) fan coolers on the market! icy silence.
Corsair 750W RMX 80+ Gold Modular PSU
A high-power, high-quality power supply that generates little heat or noise.
First, let’s define “best”. Best performance? Best value? Best noise level?
We obviously placed a special priority on noise level since that is sort of what this whole article is about, but we tried to go for a bit of all three. After all, no one wants a silent machine that can’t do much. This is a very high-end machine that will stay cool and quiet without compromising on performance. If you follow our part list, you should come out the other side with a near-silent gaming PC able to trade blows with the best of them.
Let’s dive in.
The i9-9900K is the latest consumer-level CPU available to those out there looking for a high-end Intel build. It doesn’t matter if you stream, render videos or just want to game this CPU will provide seriously high performance across the board for your different tasks.
The i9 achieves this with 8 hyperthreaded cores, enabling what is essentially 16 virtual processors (threads) to tackle the tasks your PC is doing. These stay on par with the higher end i7’s in terms of gaming performance, with slight improvements in particularly well-optimised titles, and also make this system much more equipped to handle heavily-threaded workloads.
This is an unlocked CPU as you can tell by the ‘K’ in its name however be aware if you wish to overclock this high powered CPU it will draw more power and produce more heat which will lead to more noise from your system.
This CPU cooler may not have shown up on our best CPU cooler list but that is simply because silent operation was not a priority before. This cooler has a monstrous heatsink and does a fine job of cooling your CPU but it manages to do this while only producing a max noise of 14.5dBa! There were liquid cooling solutions that would probably shave off an extra few degrees on your temps and if you want to compromise on noise levels then feel free to install an AIO but you can rest assured this cooler will do the job you need. Along with the heatsink, there are 6 heat pipes distributing heat pretty evenly and 2 x PWM fans to push that heat away from your motherboard.
A cheap, efficient, and quiet cooling solution.
You’re probably looking at this huge graphics card with three fans and wondering how on Earth it fits in a quiet PC build. Hear us out. The EVGA RTX series is renowned for their cooling, and are perhaps the best-cooled GPUs out there. While they’re physically massive and have three huge fans, this design is actually conducive to keeping things quiet and cool. The massive heatsink allows for easier heat dispersion, and the fans themselves are whisper-quiet. With great cooling, you get great performance and overclocking capabilities. The EVGA XC2 cooling design combined with the RTX 2080 TI ensures that you’ll be able to annihilate any task or game thrown at you, regardless of settings or resolution.
RAM doesn’t make any noise! It also doesn’t really generate much heat either. There truly isn’t much to say about this. We simply decided upon 16GB of high-quality fast RAM as you don’t want to be left short with a build like this one. For less than $100 you arguably some of the best RAM for performance clocked at 3200MHz. That’s a bargain and from a manufacturer you can trust.
As we alluded to earlier, an SSD is a requirement with this build and not an option. You would normally expect to see a smaller m.2 solution recommended with a large HDD for your media but HDD’s can produce excessive amounts of unwanted noise and they are slower! Despite the Samsung EVO series is a staple of high-performance SSDs, it actually provides some of the best value you can get out of a 2TB SSD. We also opted for an M.2 version, so you won’t need to worry about mounting any 2.5 drives.
Corsair makes some pretty great power supplies and peripherals. This Corsair RMX 750 is no different. It effectively offers everything we’re looking for in a build like this and while it is priced on the high-end, what you’re paying is more than fair for what you’re getting in return. The 750W is more than enough power this build, in fact, it is overkill but we have added this headroom to make sure the stress on your system is kept as low as possible which in turn keeps the noise down. This is an 80+ Gold Certified PSU, which pretty much means that it will only consume the amount of power that is needed and no more. This results in less excess heat released into the case, and less power required which again will keep that noise down. You are also getting Corsairs excellent build quality, which means this is a PSU you can trust with a lengthy warranty. This whisper-quiet PSU is perfect and it comes fully modular for an easier installation.
Motherboards don’t really have an impact on in-game FPS. However, the features of a motherboard still matter. Since the Gigabyte motherboard uses the Z390 chipset, it enables CPU overclocking but you may not want to do this with a silent PC. The Gigabyte Z390 has some great features which make this board more efficient and efficiency is what we want with a silent build! Aside from that, it’s a full-sized ATX motherboard with great components and an m.2 heatsink further reducing temps. A great motherboard!
Last but certainly not least is the case. The Fractal R5 is one quiet cooling master. Whatever excess noise may be created by the few components in this build should be easily absorbed by this chassis. Its great airflow also means that your parts are being kept cool in a very efficient manner. That being said, make sure you don’t change to the window version. You’ll lose some of your sound insulation by replacing the side panel with a windowed panel. It’ll look nicer, sure, but you may actually pick up some noise.
Understanding Computer Noise
With quiet PCs, it's important to figure out the noise levels from your components. We define this with the international standard of dB (decibels).
There are several elements to consider when it comes to noise from your components as there are a few that can impact the level quite a bit.
- CPU Cooling - The latest gen CPUs consume a lot of power, sometimes up to 140W. This high amount of power requires adequate cooling. Whether you go for air or liquid cooler you are benefiting from a cooler less stressed component which will produce less noise when operating. This is particularly true for an overclocked CPU, as these consume even more power so need more effective cooling to prevent overheating. A high amount of heat will bring more noise to your system so be careful.
- GPU - Graphics a power-hungry component in modern PC's consuming a high amount of watts. The GTX/RTX cards are the most popular and the standard cooler used by most PC manufacturers can produce as much as 41dB when gaming. With this in mind, we selected the Asus ROG Strix card as it showed relatively lower noise levels compared to its rivals and it just so happens to be the best RTX 2080 TI card.
- SSD - We have opted for an M.2 drive in this build simply because they are an improvement on your standard SSD's but also offer zero noise output! HDDs often run with fast RPMs and can make an increased amount of noise when reading/writing so we have avoided one altogether.
- PSU - A high-quality PSU will make your system quieter. This is largely down to the fact the more expensive the PSU the higher the efficiency rating(Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium) and thus consume less electricity and so are easier to keep cool. Some PSUs also feature intelligent fan control that means the fan only starts spinning up when the PSU is under heavy load, they sometimes have a mode called zero RPM which will basically mean the fan won't spin until required.
- Case - The case will normally be your source of good airflow, cable management, and space but when it comes to a silent PC you need a case that does a bit more than this. Cases like the one we recommend here are built with quietness in mind so you can rest assured this will block out any remaining noise from your components.
For the ultimate silent setup you may also wish to replace the fans in the case for quieter ones but this isn't a major requirement. Have a look at our best case fan options and decide if you would like to go down an even quieter route.
Too Expensive? Here’s What You Can Change
If all you want is an awesome quiet PC, then we think we’ve already given that to you. This build does come in at quite a high price point (around $2,900 for those less inclined to do the maths), so we understand if you have considered downgrading this a little bit while still keeping things quiet and cool.
Here’s what you can replace. If it isn’t on this list, don’t touch it:
- RAM - A downgrade to speeds of 3000MHz RAM shouldn’t hurt this build too much, and will save you a little bit of money if you so wished.
- GPU - Stick with ROG Strix for the quiet operation, but a huge money saver on this build would be a downgrade to the none TI version of the card. If this is still too much you can see some alternative options from our best GPU picks.
- SSD - As long as it’s an SSD, you can use whatever you like. Just make sure it’s an SSD. We think we’ve made a really great value pick here, though, and don’t recommend replacing it since its 2TB but you could add a high-quality SATA SSD for extra storage if you so wished.
And that’s it!
Using a combination of high-end components made to run quietly, an excellent case to house them all, and just a little bit of intuition, we’ve created what we consider to be the best silent gaming PC build. If this was out of budget and you are looking for a cheaper system why not check out our $2000 build and see if there are any tweaks to get the price down.
Comment below and let us know: do you have any questions or concerns? Is there anything you’d change? We want to hear from you! (But not your PCs; keep those things quiet!)